Two notions of fusion and the landscape of extensionality

Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3443-3463 (2021)
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There are two main ways in which the notion of mereological fusion is usually defined in the current literature in mereology which have been labelled ‘Leśniewski fusion’ and ‘Goodman fusion’. It is well-known that, with Minimal Mereology as the background theory, every Leśniewski fusion also qualifies as a Goodman fusion. However, the converse does not hold unless stronger mereological principles are assumed. In this paper I will discuss how the gap between the two notions can be filled, focussing in particular on two specific sets of principles that appear to be of particular philosophical interest. The first way to make the two notions equivalent can be used to shed some interesting light on the kind of intuition both notions seem to articulate. The second shows the importance of a little-known mereological principle which I will call ‘Mild Supplementation’. As I will show, the mereology obtained by adding Mild Supplementation to Minimal Mereology occupies an interesting position in the landscape of theories that are stronger than Minimal Mereology but weaker than what Achille Varzi and Roberto Casati have labelled ‘Extensional Mereology’.
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